In real estate, it’s location, location, location, that determines a home’s value. In marketing, it’s consistency, consistency, consistency, that determines a campaign’s effectiveness.
February 2002, By Greg Herder
Rosser Reeves, in his classic book, Reality in Advertising, said it best: “If you run a brilliant campaign every year, but change it every year, your competitors can pass you with a campaign that is less than brilliant — providing they do not change it.”
Great personal marketing campaigns that create a steady flow of new business for an agent are built on years of consistency. Every ad, every piece of direct mail, every flyer, every web page, even every conversation that a customer is exposed to must reinforce the image and public personality of an agent. Great agents understand this and work hard to reinforce a single identity that runs throughout everything they do, both conceptually and graphically.
Outside real estate, we see the power of consistency in many of today’s leading brands. Absolut started its famous bottle campaign in 1981, and it’s still going strong. Absolut stormed to the top of the vodka market and has held the dominant market share for the last 15 years. They have held the course with a consistent campaign while their competitors have jumped from one big promotion to another that produces short-term sales blips that do not hold up over time.
Take the Test
Unfortunately, a lot of agents I talk to tell me that they are being consistent; but, upon inspection of their marketing materials, they are not. To evaluate your consistency, start by taking all of the marketing materials that you used last year and set them out on a table. This includes every ad you ran, every piece of mail you sent, including Just-Listed and Just-Solds, flyers, calendars, notepads, letters and anything else you use to market yourself, door hangers, promotional items, even your business card. Spread them out and just glance at them. Does each and every piece reinforce the same basic look? Do they have a consistency, graphic feel and style?
Next, pick up and look at each piece individually; does each piece communicate the same central message to a prospect? Does each piece reinforce the next piece? As a group, do your materials clearly differentiate you from all the other real estate agents in the area? Is your name and picture always presented as the highest quality part of your materials?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you are not being consistent in your marketing, and it’s costing you money.
So, where do you start? First, you must clearly define your central message that you are going to drive into your clients’ mind to differentiate you from all the other agents in your market. Remember, the best themes are built around an element of your personality and communicated emotionally in your marketing. Warning: you cannot build a differentiating campaign using the same old claims of service, experience and integrity.
Once you have a central message, create a personal logo that will become the graphic theme that ties all of your marketing materials together. Remember, a logo is the one thing that should stay totally consistent over time. Do not put your picture into your logo because it will be outdated quickly.
Based on your theme and personal logo, select a color palette that will be used in all of your marketing materials. Do not use the same color palette that your company does or it will look like your company is the driving force behind your marketing activities and not you.
Now you have the core elements in place to make all of your marketing create a consistent identity in the minds of your clients. For an example of agent consistency, log onto http://www.HobbsHerder.com/portfolio.
Forming a Relationship Through Marketing
Once you have the core elements in place, now use them in everything that you do. Carry the theme into all of your advertising and marketing materials. As a consumer, if I see an ad in the newspaper, then get a piece of direct mail that reinforces the same message, and now I walk into your open house and pick up your personal brochure that has the same look and feel, I feel like I already know you. You have an identity that makes you stand out and gives you a huge advantage in the marketplace.
Just like the exact same home in one location can be worth lots more than the same home in another, having consistency throughout all of your marketing materials will make them a lot more effective.